In the United States, chickens say Buk-Buk-Bah-Bok, but in India they say Ku-Ka-Ku-Ka.
In “Chicken Talk Around the World”, a new picture book by Seattle author Carole Lexa Schaefer and illustrated by Spokane artist Pierr Morgan, children visit their grandmothers on farms in six countries and give readers an insight into life anywhere.
You will of course learn what chickens say in each language, along with the words for chicken, rooster, egg, and grandmother.
Morgan will read the book, which will be released on Tuesday, during a Zoom storytime with Auntie’s Bookstore on Saturday at 11am. She will also read two other books on which the two teamed up: “The Kindergarten: Growing Food in the City” and “The Kringel”.
Morgan did a lot of research for Chicken Talk to create illustrations that reflect each region. She learned about the people and what the land would be like, including the types of crops on the farm.
“The text is just a small suggestion, then I have to light it up like the hell,” she said.
“Since most people don’t go there, I want to work out a place where kids can go when they look at my books,” she said.
She figured out what types of chickens would live in different places and based her illustrations on these breeds.
“My illustration style wasn’t going to be loose and colorful,” she said. “It was important to me that these are real chickens that would be found in the world.”
Abuela’s farm in Mexico has Catalan chickens because they do well in hot climates. There are marans on Grandmeres farm in France because this breed originates from France.
At the end of the book, the grandmothers and grandchildren are shown how to have breakfast – with eggs, of course. Morgan examined typical meals for each country.
Schaefer and Morgan had help from friends from different countries, as well as advisors from their publisher, Little Bigfoot, to make sure the words and picture reflected real life well.
“Everyone is curious about how other people live,” said Morgan. “It was so wonderful that we had a group of people from these countries who could see the preliminary art.”
The illustrations in the book are made of gouache and ink resist. The colorful parts are first painted with gouache, then covered with black ink.
The painting is then rinsed with water and, similar to wax resist, the black ink does not stick to the gouache but to the paper.
“It looks like you ruined your painting, but it comes to life,” she said.
It’s the same technique she’s used in several books, including The Children’s Garden, and illustrations from that book are on display at the Liberty Gallery.
Also in the gallery are some of the preliminary drawings from “Chicken Talk” with explanations of how and why things have changed, as well as a step-by-step explanation of the gouache and ink resist process.
Morgan has also created coloring pages to match the storytime. Families can pick them up at aunt’s.